Paris is a city full of surprises. If you think about the typical roofs (listed as UNESCO world heritage), the Haussmann architectures and the iconic monuments such as the Eiffel Tower or the Opéra Garnier, the unexpected often hides at the bend of a street.
Throughout Paris are scattered exotic and incredible places that make us travel. We yet sometimes can’t wrap our heads around and believe they are in Paris for real. A pagoda, a secret garden or an uncommon movie theater make us dream of faraway lands. Let’s discover the exotic side of Paris!
Zen garden of the Buddhist Pantheon
The Buddhist Pantheon is an annex of the Musée Guimet – devoted to Asian arts. Set in a former private mansion, the Hôtel d’Heidelbach, the Buddhist Pantheon holds a secret green setting, an exotic Zen garden. We can also find a pavilion devoted to the tea ceremony.
The Grand Mosque of Paris
The oldest mosque in metropolitan France is also one of the exotic places in town. With traditional mosaics, its patio lines with arcades, we have a Hispanic-Moorish style inspired by the Mosque of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco.
Its 33-meter tall minaret can be spotted from afar, while the magnificent gardens remind us of those of the Alhambra in Granada. This mosque also houses a restaurant and a tearoom and when you leave it, you’re almost surprise to find yourself still in Paris.
Le Louxor, an Ancient-Egypt-inspired movie theater
Iconic place for Parisians, Le Louxor is one of the oldest movie theaters in Paris. Its particularity? It’s neo-Egyptian inspiration. Its façade with bright mosaics takes up back to Pharaohs’ time. If Le Louxor now has gold letters on the front, the movie theater went through ups and downs. Even though listed as historic monument, it was not safe from closing in 1988 and abandoned in the years that followed.
But fortunately, in April 2013, Le Louxor rises again and reopens with fully renovated rooms. Since then, you can discover a setting halfway between Neo-Egypt and Art Déco along with three iconic rooms. The Youssef Chahine room, the movie theater’s main room unveils a pharaonic décor echoing the Egyptian façade, while the Juliet Berto-Jean-Henri Roger room unveils a starry ceiling in tribute to the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. As for the third room, it displays a shimmering red Art Déco style. Three rooms, three atmospheres!
The obelisk in the Place de la Concorde
Difficult to miss that one. And yet, we couldn’t talk about exotic monuments without including the oldest monument in Paris! The Luxor Obelisk comes from the Temple of Amon in Egypt.
At the beginning, the two columns on each side of the Temple of Amon were to be given to king Charles X by Egypt Vice-King Mehemet Ali. Only one arrived in France, the other stayed there, in front of the temple and has been officially given back to Egypt by French president François Mitterrand.